Easy Marinara Sauce
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You probably have your own idea of what a great marinara sauce should be. Or, you at least know someone who has an old, and usually secret, family recipe. If you don’t, it’s better late then never.
A great marinara sauce recipe is to a chef what a pen is to a great writer. Sure, they could use a keyboard, and they’ll probably finish faster, but it’s never going to feel quite the same. The same way that jarred sauce is never really going to hold a candle to the flavor of the one you’re about to make.
At this point in this post, if you do have an old family marinara sauce recipe, you should share this delicious secret with me below in the comments section.
Now that that’s out-of-the-way, let’s get back to business.
While marinara sauce is traditionally a simple tomato sauce with garlic, oil and sometimes onions, you’ll also find recipes with ingredients like carrots, celery or even seafood such as anchovies (possibly because “marinara” comes from the Italian phrase “alla marinara”, or “sailor-style”).
With so many variations, it can be easy to lose sight of the real, home-made pleasure that comes with making this versatile sauce. Which is why I’m bringing you this simple marinara sauce recipe to add to your cooking arsenal. Trust me, you’ll never want to buy a jar of sauce again.
Before you begin, let’s take a look at some tips to making the perfect marinara sauce every time…
Ingredient timing is crucial.
If you’re adding dried herbs, add them at the beginning of the recipe. If you’re adding fresh herbs, add them towards the end of the recipe, about 10 minutes before you take the sauce off of the heat. If you’re adding onions, saute them with the oil and garlic for a few minutes before you add the tomatoes. These things all matter when it comes to your finished sauce’s flavor.
Use a large pot,
Seriously. I’m not kidding here. Even if you’re not making that big of a batch. The sauce can spit while it’s cooking, and a larger pot will help avoid a mess.
You’ll thank me when you’re not scrubbing sauce off of the stove all night.
Sugar can help.
If it’s off-season for tomatoes, they may taste too acidic. Adding a pinch of sugar to your marinara sauce recipe can help balance the overall savory flavor. If you’re using canned tomatoes, like the ones this recipe calls for, you probably won’t have to worry about acidity.
Use good wine.
A general rule of thumb is to never cook with a wine you wouldn’t drink by itself. If you’re adding wine to your sauce make sure you like the flavor, or you won’t like it in the food, either. In the words of Julia Child, “I enjoy cooking with wine, sometimes I even put it in the food.”
Simmer that sauce.
Keep an eye on the heat when you’re making this recipe. You want the sauce to stay on a nice simmer, not a boil. If you start seeing big bubbles or a lot of spitting, turn the heat down. You want the tomatoes to be cooked as the sauce begins to thicken. If you cook the marinara sauce too hot, the seeds in the tomatoes can become bitter, and even sugar might not fix that.
And without further adieu, I give you my Easy Marinara Sauce Recipe!
Easy Marinara Sauce
- 1/4 cup olive oil, extra virgin
- 1 medium vidalia onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 tbsp basil, dried
- 2 tbsp oregano, dried
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 28 oz crushed tomatoes
- 28 oz petite diced tomatoes
- 6 oz tomato paste
- large pot
- Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add olive oil, onion and garlic. Saute until onions are tender and starting to turn brown, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add basil, oregano, salt and pepper to sauteed onions and stir. Then add white wine and stir all ingredients together.
- Pour in crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir all ingredients together until combined.
- Bring all ingredients to a simmer and reduce heat to low-medium. Continue simmering the sauce for 20-25 minutes. If it begins to boil, reduce heat to low.
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Can you use fresh tomatoes? I’m overloaded with them!
Absolutely! Traditionally Roma tomatoes are used, but I’ve made sauce with other varieties before. If the skin of the tomato is really thick, you can blanch them quickly in boiling water, then peel and dice them. If they skin isn’t thick enough to bother you then you can just dice them and follow the recipe as is. You may need to add a bit more salt, depending on your personal taste. Let me know how it goes!